Background. The aim of the present study was to identify prepregnancy, pregnancy and delivery correlates of urinary incontinence postpartum (PP UI) as reported by women in a cross-sectional population sample.
Methods. A questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey was carried out in 1998 in a random population sample of 3900 20- to 59-year-old women. The present study includes 376 women who had their last delivery during 1993–96.
Results. UI immediately after childbirth and 6 months thereafter was reported by 23.4% and 2.7%, respectively. PP UI was strongly associated with UI both before and during the present pregnancy, explaining 37.5% and 51.7% of postpartum UI, respectively. Eight percent experienced their first UI episode ever immediately after the delivery. Among women undergoing a cesarean section 8.8% reported postpartum UI, as contrasted with 24.9% in other women. Postpartum UI was positively associated with perineal suturing but un-associated with labor augmentation, episiotomy, birth weight, and breast-feeding.
Conclusion. In the present study, which included a comprehensive causal model, postpartum UI could be explained first of all as the decline of pregnancy UI, secondly as a manifestation of a pre-existing tendency to react by UI, and finally as a consequence of the birth process itself.